Monthly Training Recap: Assessment of and Interventions for Automatically- Reinforced Behavior (January 25th, 2023).
January’s CEU offering was presented by Kristin Harris. The training included a review of the literature in the areas of assessment and treatment with a focus on the most prolifically researched intervention: response interruption and redirection. In light of the neurodiversity movement, the ethics of intervention and considerations were highlighted, namely, the behavior analyst's obligations to maximize the benefits of therapy, supporting clients' rights, and the hippocratic oath of "do no harm" from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board's Professional and Ethical Compliance Code (2014). Anxious behavior was operationalized as a set of behaviors that increase or decrease when an aversive event is signaled and a recent study was cited for its utility to assess and treat behaviors hypothesized to be maintained by automatic negative reinforcement. Three types of assessment procedures were discussed along with considerations for use in applied settings. They were: the traditional functional analysis (Iwata, 1992/1984), the BRIEF functional analysis (Roscoe et al., 2008) and the Automatic Reinforcement Screen (Querim et al., 2013), respectively. A multitude of procedural variations in treatment packages involving response interruption and redirection investigated at differential reinforcement procedures, reprimands, response blocking and response cost as highly idiosyncratic components. Their inclusion in a treatment package must take into account the quality and nature of the reinforcement context for the individual along with practicality and social significance. Most importantly, behavior analysts should conduct an ecological assessment to determine if modifications to the environment can be made with relative ease. Environmental enrichment cannot be over-emphasized as a tool for behavior change in the reduction of automatically maintained challenging behavior.